He held his arms out as the air rushed by, chilling his skin. His eyes were closed. He felt weightless, as if the laws of gravity no longer applied, as if the magic of The Enigma had overtaken the entire world. He hit the water feet first, entering with barely a splash, his arms forced overhead first by the resistance of the air, then the water.
His descent had taken three seconds. His life did not play out, movie style, in that time; there were only fragments of thoughts. Rembrandt Walker pouring water in the trough, watching it run uphill. He thought he smelled turnips. Risa cutting his hair.
The water shocked him from his dream, awoke him from his drug-induced stupor, if only for a moment. It might have been adrenaline, or whatever other chemicals surge through one’s body in times of life-threatening crises. It had taken another three seconds for that to happen, for him to plunge to a depth of twenty feet, for the water to soak through his clothes, permeate the pores of his skin, and send a message to his brain that the situation was dire.
He opened his eyes to complete darkness. He took a breath and his lungs filled with water. His arms flailed, his legs pumped. Above, he saw a dim light. He had wanted to find rest. He had wanted peace. But his body had taken over. It was refusing to die. He pumped his arms and legs twice, trying to surge to the surface. He was still ten feet from the cold December air when he lost consciousness.